Sunday, September 30, 2007

Taking patients for a ride

I am a big believer in Information Therapy and I am happy when infertile patients use the internet to get better informed about their problems and treatment options. In fact, one of my patients jokingly calls me the "Do Your Homework" Doctor - and I think this is a compliment !

However, I cringe when I see misinformation being peddled on the net - and unscrupulous people taking infertile couples for a ride. I have already blogged about how the net is being misused to sell ineffective "medicines" such as Ovulex, so I won't go into that right now.

What's worse is women who now sell "info-products" or "e-books" to "educate" couples about infertility. While educating couples is important and there's nothing wrong with making money by doing this either , what I object to is the misleading way the information is being sold.

Basically, they prey on an infertile couple's vulnerability and ignorance. They promise the earth and can do so safely, because they are not doctors, which means they are not accountable or answerable. They create attractive websites ( for example, the identical sites at and using sophisticated marketing techniques developed by clever internet entrepreneurs, and sell these using google adwords, thus pushing couples into buying their products. And since their products are priced very reasonably, most couples are happy to buy - even though the same information is available for free elsewhere !

What's my objection ? Aren't they just fulfilling a need ? I strongly object to their bad-mouthing doctors on their sites. For example, one site which sells an e-book says,

So do not lose your chance to get the secret and the never been told methods that Doctors, Obstetricians & Gynecologist, may not be telling you just to protect dollars in their pockets and their entire line of businesses as well.

Doctors have their patients' best interests at heart. Why would we hide this information from our patients ? What sense does this make ? Even if you are cynical and think that all doctors are money-hungry grubbers, don't forget that every infertile couple an infertility doctor gets pregnant sends him ten more . And every gynecologist is happy to get their infertile patients pregnant, because they then become obstetric patients !

Please sell if you want to - but don't knock doctors in order to do so !

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